Dollars and cents, it’s easy to get caught up, but remember that your passion should come first.
Now, this isn’t 100% photography related because it has to do mainly with Youtube’s new monetization scheme. If you were unaware, the new scheme means most low subscriber (sub-1,000) and low watch hour (sub 4,000 hours) accounts will no longer be able to monetize their videos. It has a lot of people in that community, and by extension the photo community (because a lot of you utilize the platform for a variety of reasons) up in arms.
But in this post, we aren’t going to be talking about those changes. We are going to focus on what these changes should be reminding us to do: focus on your passion – the rest will fall into place.
Peter McKinnon is a name you have no doubt heard. The guy rocketed up the Youtube celebrity lists in 2017 thanks to his killer content and style. He just posted a new video about these Youtube changes and you can see that below. There are a few points we wanted to highlight in that video. In McKinnon’s early days of Youtube he was 200 subscribers shy of the 1,000 subscriber mark and well short (but also well on his way) towards that 4,000 watch hour mark at about 1,600 watch hours.
He shared this screenshot not because he was making bank, but because for that sort of a channel he was estimated to earn something like $.55 cents that month. So, be generous and double his numbers (plus a little more to get him over that 4,000 watch hour mark) and let’s put his revenue at $1.10/mo – clearly not a livable wage, especially considering the amount of work he puts into his videos and the frequency with which he posts them.
The point was, it wasn’t about the money – and that is how it should be. McKinnon goes on to show another example, from another very well known Youtube celebrity, Casey Neistat. Neistat did not even monetize any of his videos until after he passed 100 million views. 100 million views would have earned him a lot more than .55 cents, but it wasn’t about the money for him: it was about his project, his passion, his art.
Which brings us to this Youtube thing again, which I wanted to extrapolate on to the greater photography community. Photographers shouldn’t be doing what they are doing if it is just about chasing big paychecks. Let’s be real: in this industry those big paychecks are getting to be fewer and farther between, especially if you are not passionate about it (as that will likely show in your work). So keep that day job, focus your photography on your artistic passion; be that landscapes or boudoir, or weddings, or street photography – whatever it is.
If you are passionate about it, that will show in your images and others will be drawn to that passion. It may not be meant to be for you to make a ton of money doing it, but if there is any possibility of making money, you need to be doing it for your passion to give yourself the best chances.
Stop worrying about the money: stop thinking about the bills. Those are just mental roadblocks that kill your creativity and destroy your passion. Focus on your passion, develop your art, and with a little luck the money will fall into place.